20 (typically modest) natural wonders in the UK

Natural arch of Durdle Door. natural wonders in the ukDreamstime

The best natural wonders in the UK may not equal those in the US, Canada or Australia, but the sometimes quirky, always striking sights are still worth seeing

When the ArcelorMittal Orbit was foisted on the London skyline in 2012, it split opinion rather starkly. I, for my sins, thought it was quirky and interesting while Peter thought it a blight on the landscape.

Britain’s best long-distance footpaths

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Britain’s best long-distance footpaths provide excellent access to the UK’s outdoors while showcasing the finest scenery our isles have to offer

When you think of the best long-distance hiking trails from around the world, little old Britain probably wouldn’t top of your list. Hikers will more likely be drawn to the Triple Crown of the Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails in the US, New Zealand’s Great Walks or the famous Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp treks in Nepal.

However, the UK does have an extensive network of long-distance footpaths. Managed by the National Trails in England and Wales and Scotland’s Great Trails north of the border, the UK has thousands of miles of tramping to be discovered – and the network continues to expand.

In photos: the best views in the Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove is one of best views in the Yorkshire DalesAtlas & Boots

We’ve put together a selection of the best views in Yorkshire Dales National Park, home to some of England’s prettiest landscapes

Having just moved to the area and started our exploration of the Yorkshire Dales in earnest, we thought it appropriate to share some of the wider scenery the Dales have to offer.

Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) was designated in 1954 and extended by 24% in 2016 to cover 2,178 km2 in total. YDNP is famed for having some of the finest limestone landscapes in the UK with crags, pavements and caves set amid an expansive heather moorland of rolling hills and dramatic waterfalls, all criss-crossed with miles of dry stonewalls and picturesque villages.

Hiking Great Shunner Fell: my first ‘Dales 30’

Hiking Great Shunner Fell was my first of the Dales 30, the highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales. One down, 29 to go…

As many of you will know, Kia and I recently moved to the country. It’s taken me eight years, but I’ve finally convinced Kia that life is better away from the busy south. As such, we’ve moved to the small and charming market town of Richmond on the edge of Yorkshire Dales National Park.

As well as enjoying the delights of Richmond, the best thing for me about our move is having easy access to the countryside, right on our doorstop. It takes five minutes to drive into the national park, one of Britain’s 15 breathing spaces, while at the end of our street is a walking trail along the River Swale that gets us into the park in just 15 minutes.

The ups and downs of our move to the country

Richmond North yorkshire

After three decades in London, would a move to the country prove horribly wrong? We share the ups and downs of our time in the Dales

We’ve finally settled down. After four years on the road interspersed by stretches in a tiny French village, we’re back in Britain permanently – well, kind of. We have trips to Namibia, South Africa and possibly Costa Rica planned for Nov-Dec and more next year, but we also have a permanent home.

Climbing Carrauntoohil: Ireland’s highest mountain

things to do in the reeks district CarrauntoohilValerie O’Sullivan

Climbing Carrauntoohil is an excellent introduction to the Reeks District, Ireland’s adventure playground

The MacGillycuddy’s Reeks in Kerry are Ireland’s highest mountain range and the inspiration behind the region’s newly renamed Reeks District, home to Carrauntoohil which at 1,038m (3,406ft) is Ireland’s highest mountain.

High cliffs, mountain lakes and fast-running rivers define the range which runs 19km along the eastern boundary of the Iveragh Peninsula. Known as the backbone of the Kingdom of Kerry, the sandstone mountains have been hewn over hundreds of thousands of years by glacial erosion and extreme weather.

7 adventure sailing holidays for your bucket list

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Adventure sailing holidays have the ability to carry passengers to the far reaches of the world, accessing some of the most remote and magnificent scenery the world has to offer.

Having recently returned from my first tall ship sailing adventure off the west coast of Scotland, and with my interest for the high seas well and truly piqued, I take a look at some adventure sailing holidays I would love to join.

Learning to paddleboard in Scotland

Learning to paddleboard Scotland lead image of beach

I spent a week learning to paddleboard off the west coast of Scotland, the perfect setting for trying the world’s fastest growing water sport

My only experience of standup paddleboarding (SUP) was the odd paddle at a beachside resort here and there. I’ve never liked surfing (I know that’s so uncool to admit) but I have always enjoyed kayaking whether it has been along the Thames in London or kayaking in more far-flung destinations.

So when I joined the Lady of Avenel for a tall ship sailing adventure recently, I was excited to learn it would be part of a wider paddleboarding trip organised by London-based SUP enthusiasts Active360.

Tall ship sailing adventures off the west coast of Scotland

Tall ship sailing adventures Scotland 2Atlas & Boots

I joined the Lady of Avenel for a week of tall ship sailing adventures around the Inner Hebrides archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland

This summer I joined the tall ship Lady of Avenel to sail around the Inner Hebrides archipelago. When the sails were furled we put kayaks and paddleboards overboard and headed for land, exploring wild beaches, craggy coves and traditional fishing villages en route.

Unhindered by ferry schedules, busy roads or hiking trails we could access some of the most remote scenery in Scotland; scenery that only the sea has passage to. The unique approach to tall ship sailing adventures provided by the Lady of Avenel combines traditional sailing with outdoor activities.

Wild continent: the best National Parks in Europe

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The best national parks in Europe are home to the wildest scenery and most thrilling outdoor pursuits the continent has to offer

Europe’s finest wilderness has quite rightly been enshrined and protected in its national parks. Great glaciers, soaring mountains and primeval forests stretch across Europe’s 50 sovereign states. We take a look at the wildest and best national parks in Europe.

Best viewpoints in New Forest National Park

Best-viewpoints-in-the-New-Forest-National-Park-Picket-PostAtlas & Boots

We reveal the best viewpoints in New Forest National Park in Hampshire, perhaps the UK’s most underrated park

We recently spent a few days exploring the New Forest and unearthing the best New Forest cycling routes in the process. Despite the poor weather during our trip (welcome to England!), we did manage to find some great views en route; views that are no doubt incredible on a summer’s day of blue skies and sunshine.

5 of the best New Forest cycling routes

We explored one of the UK’s newest national parks by bike. Here’s our pick of the best New Forest cycling routes for those of all abilities

The UK is home to 15 national parks in total. Established in 2005, the New Forest in Hampshire is the UK’s second newest national park and one of the easiest to explore by bike.

The park is just an hour and a half from London by train and is home to over 160km (100mi) of excellently maintained (mostly gently) undulating cycling paths – ideal for cyclists of all abilities.

Tackling London’s empathy gap

As we head to London in the wake of the Grenfell Tower inferno, the class divide is heavy on our minds

In Greek mythology, Chimera was a fire-breathing creature with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Today, her name has come to denote anything composed of very different parts: a collection of things that don’t belong together.

It’s a fitting way to describe how I felt after graduating from university. I’ve explained in Checking my privilege and Asian girl, English boy that I had a very simple childhood. My family was poor but so was everyone else’s. My parents were immigrants but so were everyone else’s. There was a uniformity that precluded envy, tension, or confusion about my identity. I was Bangladeshi and I was poor. Hey ho.

Largest islands in the world: 10 colossal coasts

Largest rainforests in the world new guineaDreamstime

We take a look at the largest islands in the world, from deserted Ellesmere Island in the Arctic Circle to metropolitan Honshu in Japan

We’ve spent a fair amount of time on islands. Not only were we born and raised on one, but island destinations appear to be a reoccurring theme on our travels.

In 2014, we started Atlas & Boots with a six-month journey across the South Pacific via Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Hawaii. Our latest extended trip has seen us spend a month in Sri Lanka shortly followed by another in Mauritius.

Hiking the South West Coast Path: Newquay to Penzance

Britain’s best long-distance footpaths south west coast pathDreamstime

Hiking the South West Coast path has long been on my bucket list. This summer I completed the section between Newquay to Penzance

The South West Coast path, Britain’s longest national trail, has long been on my hiking to-do list. It’s one of the finest long distance hiking trails in the world and showcases Britain at its best. Tent on back, I set off for a taste this summer.

I would love to spend a couple of months hiking the entire path but I didn’t have time for a thru-hike this summer, so decided to complete a section between Newquay and Penzance in Cornwall.

11 cool passport stamps of the world

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Some unusual passport stamps to collect on your travels including microstates, geographical landmarks, inaccessible lands and a range of historical sights

It may not be fashionable but I’m a bit of a box-ticker when it comes to travel. I have a list of the countries I’ve visited and I keep track of memorable places such the highest, lowest and driest I’ve visited. I’m also rather proud of my passports (past and present) that have filled up with the stamps I’ve collected.

Brexit: waking up to Little Britain

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Britain’s decision to leave the EU was a bad one. On Friday 24th June I woke up to discover I live in a very different Britain to what I thought

Kia and I tend to steer clear of politics on this blog. We have such a varied and international audience, it’s rare that the politics of one region will interest everyone. However, last week our home country made a decision that sent shockwaves across the globe. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union was a bad decision and one I feel I can’t ignore.

Clovelly village: the land that time forgot

Clovelly-village - streets

Clovelly village is a picturesque, historic, fishing village on the north Devon coast. It is also a village time seems to have forgotten

Until recently, we hadn’t even heard of Clovelly village, a picturesque cluster of homes on the north coast of Devon. It was during our recent glamping trip that we came across Clovelly on a day trip from camp.

We were utterly charmed by the unique English village defined by the steep, cobbled streets that tumble down past traditional 16th century whitewashed cottages to a tiny harbour below. It is also one of the few car-free places remaining in the UK. 

Glamping in Devon (with a touch of the Mongolian steppe)

glamping in Devon grounds

Glamping in Devon in a Mongolian Yurt was the perfect compromise for a wild camper and his outdoorsy-ish girlfriend. Here’s what we did

I’ve often said that I’m most content when wild camping with everything I need on my back. Kia asked me recently why I like it so much. I told her that I love the simple life. I love being cut off from the hectic, modern world and being close to nature. A bit of a cliché I know, but true all the same.

Unfortunately, Kia doesn’t share quite the same enthusiasm. She loves nature and dramatic landscapes, but would rather return to a warm hotel and tasty meal instead of a damp sleeping bag and freeze-dried couscous.